MD Small Business Development Center - Eastern Region
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How do I register my company?
    Depending on the legal business entity you have chosen, contact the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation (DAT) to register your entity. Contact the State by phone at (410)-767-1340 to obtain the correct documents or download the Articles of Incorporation (stock, non-stock, close, professional, and religious) and the Articles of Organization (LLC) on the DAT Website under a form site search.

Certificates for legal partnerships are written by the general partner and filed with the DAT. Contact the DAT or pick up a brochure on Limited Partnership certificate format and general guidelines. Other types of forms are listed on the DAT site as well. Sole proprietorships and general partnerships do not need to file the organization with the DAT. These non-legal entities are only required to file for personal property returns, follow tax and licensing requirements.

How do I register my company name?
    A company name, or trade name, can be filed for any organization entity type with the Department of Assessments and Taxation (DAT) corporate charter division.  A trade name is required for legal entities (corporations, LLC, and legal partnerships).  When filing your trade name for a legal business entity type, pay attention to the law regarding what is required to be included in the name.  To file a Trade Name Application with the DAT, contact their office at (410)-767-1340 to check availability, perform a search, and to hold a trade name.  Trade name searches can also be performed on the DAT Web site under a 'data search' site search.  Fees quotes are also available on the site, including cost of trade name application, cost to hold a name and other future fees.

How much does it cost to register a business with the State?
    Depending on the business entity type the cost can start at $11 and range to $100 or more.  Costs include, but not limited to, Trade name application, trade name holding for one year, Articles of Incorporation/ Organization, Certificates (LP,LLP) and any other circumstantial costs.  A current fee schedule can be found on the Department of Assessments and Taxation Web site. 

How do I apply for a business tax ID number?
        Business Identification numbers are obtained at the federal and state levels through the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Department of Assessments and Taxation (DAT).  All legal entities need to fill out the Employer Identification Number application form under the Internal Revenue Services (The EIN is the same and the Federal tax identification number). You can find this form on the IRS Web site under a form search.  Sole proprietorships and general partnerships are required to fill out a State identification number form with the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation to determine whether a number is needed for that specific organization.  This form cam be picked up from the DAT office.  To obtain further information on business tax ID numbers, contact Maryland Tax Registration office at (410)-767-1300. 

Who qualifies and how do I become a certified minority business enterprise (MBE)?
    The MBE certification through the Maryland Department of Transportation Office of Minority Business Enterprise the program is a state minority certification.  The MBE designation is any legal entity-other than a joint venture organized to engage in commercial transactions-that is at least 51% owned by one or more minority persons.  Minority person is defined as a member of a socially or economically disadvantaged minority group, including African-American, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asians, Women and the Physically or Mentally Disabled.  Qualifying businesses can obtain an MBE Certification affidavit from the Maryland Department of Transportation Minority Business Enterprise (MDOT) or call them at 410-865-1269.  You may receive further information about what the certified minority business enterprise is through MDOT's frequently asked questions page.  For MBE local sources of assistance, visit the Mayor's Office of Minority Business Development.  For assistance with the completion or review of the Certification Affidavit, please contact your local SBDC counselor to make an appointment.

What are the minority certifications?
    Minority certifications can be obtained on the federal, state, and city levels in Maryland.  Certifications offered are: the federal 8a certification, the federal SBD, the state MBE/WBE certification, the state SBD certification, and the Baltimore City Minority certification.  Each certification has different criteria set by those levels of government. Resources to research and inquire on those specifications are:

Federal Certification

State Certification

City Certifications

What are some resources for finding government contracts?
    The Maryland Procurement Technical Assistance Program (PTAP), a program managed by the MD SBDC Network, can help you identify, bid, and perform on government prime and sub contracts at the federal, state, and local levels.   As additional resources: the SBDC provides a federal, state, and local listing of procurement and contract agencies, The Maryland Governor's Office of Minority Affairs offers a contract directory physically and online , also you may get contract information from the Commerce Business Daily Web page.  

How do I get a small business grant?
    Unfortunately the availability of general small business grants is a myth passed down from generations.  We hate to bust the bubble, but yes, it is true. The U.S. Small Business Administration does not offer grants to start or expand small businesses, although it does offer a wide variety of loan programs.  While SBA does offer some grant programs, these are generally designed to expand and enhance organizations that provide small business management, technical, or financial assistance. These grants generally support non-profit organizations, intermediary lending institutions, and state and local governments. The Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) grant is a government grant developed for high-tech capable organizations to enhance research and development to find a solution for a government-specific problem.  Please visit the SBA Web site for more information.  For more resources check the Federal and State Technology Partnership Program and visit New Markets Venture Capital Program, search the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers Web site or call them at (410)-727-1205, and visit the business section within the Enoch Pratt Library.

How do I Start a Non-Profit Organization?
    The SBDC does not offer services for non-profit organizations.  A non-profit organization is considered a non-stock corporation with the State, with a filing of the Articles of Corporation for a non-stock corporation.  The Maryland Association for Non-Profit Organizations and the Charitable Organizations Division of the Office of the Secretary of State will provide resources for your non-profit venture.  The property tax exemption application and information can be found through the Department of Assessments and Taxation.  The sales and use tax exemption application and information can be found through the Maryland Comptroller.

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